Where do I even start with this one? My first instinct is to call Swiss Army Man the strangest film I’ve ever seen, and it is a compelling, surreal and bittersweet journey into one man’s mind as he battles insanity, forging an unlikely friendship in the process. That’s all I will say on the plot.

This film is all about the performances. Daniel Radcliffe has come a long way from his days as Harry Potter, affirming himself as a versatile actor, and Swiss Army Man sees him give his best performance yet. Yes, I know he plays a dead body, but trust me, once you’ve seen the film, you’ll know what I mean.

The other main actor in this film is Paul Dano, and I will admit that prior to this film I had no idea who he was. He was in Looper (a somewhat mediocre time-travel film), but I didn’t know that until I checked his IMDB entry. His performance is as good as Daniel’s, and his character is the main one in this movie. His loneliness is what drives the film – he needs Daniel’s character to keep him grounded in his isolation, and it’s through his interactions (which get very bizarre) with Daniel’s character that he discovers he needs to go home.

I can’t say any more than that, without giving away too much. All I shall say is, you need to see this. You won’t regret it.

9/10

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As the championship fight enters its decisive phase, F1 comes to Sepang, Malyasia, for a venue that rivals Singapore for heat and humidity. This race has been high drama in the past – the 2009 race was abandoned due to torrential rain, whilst in 2013 Sebastian Vettel famously defied team orders to pass his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber and snatch victory. Usually the race takes place toward the start of the season, but it’s now toward the tail-end of the season.

So what are the key areas of note with this track? There are quite a few corners which are much faster than they appear. Turns 6 7 and 8 are all quick, and if one is brave, so are turns 12 and 13. There are some meaty, tight corners that are potential overtaking areas – turn 4 is a right-hander that is quite bumpy, and turn 9 is virtually a left hairpin, an uphill hairpin. The other obvious overtaking areas are at turn 15 and turn 1.

Last year Sebastian Vettel took his maiden win for Ferrari here. It seems unlikely that he will win again on Sunday, given the performance gap between Mercedes and Ferrari, but then, no one had really expected him to win last season either. Still, the expectation is that title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will resume their battle, with Rosberg currently holding the advantage. His eight-point lead is fragile, but important – it represents a dramatic swing in his favour since F1 returned from its summer break. Hamilton needs to quickly regain his composure and shake off what was a poor weekend in Singapore if he is to keep the pressure up on Rosberg.

Where do I start? I have no idea how to properly articulate this race.

Monaco is the supreme challenge, but on F1 2009 the AI is not as polished as it is on later games, with the result being that I have won here, by a couple of laps, despite prangs and penalties of my own. I had feared that disabling the racing line would make me slower here, and more accident prone – the irony is that this was my cleanest race at Monaco, and yet it is not a race I will savour.

On to the learning of the track. Since I have to use trackside objects to guide me in respect of braking and turning zones, I needed to spend a bit of time on the practice runs. Turn 1 was easy enough and after a while everything began to come together quite quickly – the famous sequence from turn 5 to the hairpin at turn 6 was a little tricky at first, and coming out of the tunnel to the chicane at turn 10 was always a little daunting, given the speed carried through the tunnel, but by and large I actually mastered this track quicker than I’d expected. I qualified on pole and actually held a reasonable degree of optimism that this could be a good race.

For one split second at the start I slipped to second but held the racing line into turn 1 and therefore headed off in the lead. However, my advantage would be short-lived, for I ended up losing my front wing (thanks to a shunt from behind) and then, because of the lack of control over the car, ran right over the chicane at turn 10 and was given a drive-through penalty. In my view, this is as much a fault with the game as anything else – I was driving slowly and couldn’t turn as well as a result of the damage – and I ended up having to do more or less two whole laps without a front wing, as the game’s design is such that I had to serve my drive-through, then go round again before I could get my wing repaired.

I had in a way been quietly excited – would this mean a dramatic charge up the field, a challenging battle to get back to the points that would test my skills? No, for the AI cars would do their usual  trick of getting into accidents and I would get by most of them in the pits. Before long, I was back in the lead, and whilst I would briefly lose it after my first pitstop, I’d soon regain it and hold onto it for the remainder of the race.

Whilst I’d endure a few more prangs, they weren’t serious and didn’t compromise my race – even a 10-second stop-go penalty couldn’t dampen things (and in my view, the backmarker that decided to go unreasonably slowly and not move off the racing line was in fact to blame for that incident). I got to the last lap and everything looked rosy.

Except, I would inexplicably run over the chicane at turn 10 again. I misjudged my braking on worn tyres and so I slowed right now as I went over it. My lap time was flagged for invalid. Oh well, it’s the final lap, what could happen?

My engine could fail, that’s what.

Yes, on the final lap, my engine died, in what I can only assume was some kind of punishment measure. The fact that I’d slowed down as I slipped over the chicane? Didn’t mean jack, obviously.

So for the second time this season I’ve had engine failure. I have 40 points from six races, and am one point behind Mark Webber as we go to Turkey.

Part three of my discussion on Blogging Theology concerning gay rights kicks off with a response of mine to the following statement by Ken Temple – as before, my comments are in blue, his are in pink, and further comments will be in black (parts one and two, for reference, provide some background):

“homophobia” is just thrown out to try and shut down conversation. I am not afraid of homosexuals as people. I have led one to Christ and he appreciated it; and taught another guy in the Christian faith after someone else led him to repentance and faith in Christ.

I ate meals with them and visited them in their homes; and they told me I was the first Christian who reached out to them and visited them and ate meals with them.

We became good friends. the second guy eventually got married to a woman and had 4 children.

They both confessed they were wrong and they even knew they were doing wrong even while doing their homosexual lifestyle before they repented and came to faith in Christ. The confessed they were suppressing their consciences.

So, “patrobin” – you are wrong and take it back.

In one sense Ken, you are correct – homophobia is not the right word, for that implies fear. What you harbour is hate.

In one of your earlier posts you decried the idea that homosexuality was being forced into peoples’ faces – well, I know of no gay Churches, I know of no gay people who canvas people to convert to homosexuality, I know of no gay people who knock on peoples’ doors to preach the Word of the Gay.

No; the highest form of love is preaching the love of God in Jesus Christ and His gospel. How dare you call my genuine concern for homosexuals “hate”. Christians do not hate homosexuals at all. Tough love includes telling people the truth and not giving in their childish demands.

And you are also wrong in that they are constantly in the bias left wing news and media and liberal agendas by the propaganda of how Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama “changed their minds” and “evolved” about so called “gay marriage” – and the courts and TV Shows and movies are definitely shoving their debauchery and perversions in our faces.

*Gasp* oh no, the government in the US took steps to ensure arbitrary discrimination couldn’t happen by granting equal marriage rights, which did precisely nothing to undermine anyone else’s marriage in the process! Such a terrible evil…

I’m not wrong. You call them perverted. You expect them to hide away and you think they shouldn’t be allowed to get married. You support businesses being free to discriminate against them. That isn’t ‘showing concern’. You have also failed to address my point RE preaching and Churches, in favour of a whinge about supposedly biased media. Hate is the appropriate word

No; “hate” is wrong. You just use that and others use “homophobia” as a way to shut down argument and debate. I already proved that entering a shop and buying an already made plain cake is fine; but demanding that someone has to put two plastic men on top (a symbol of perversion) is wrong and force and the meme that Paul Williams put up is right.

You and that agenda is demanding that we change the meaning of words of also.

homosexuals cannot get married. Marriage is only between a man and a woman. Genesis 1-2; Matthew 19:3-6

What exactly does Ken think he’s proven? He hasn’t provided anything to support his bigotry beyond… his opinion!

Marriage is not a Christian institution and you are supporting (as Paul is) the arbitrary discrimination of anyone, for whatever reason, by suggesting businesses are not held to rules. Do you believe it would right for a Christian to refuse service to a Muslim, or vice versa? What if someone refuses service to black people, just because they want to? This is the sort of society you would favour, by failing to hold businesses to a single standard.

Marriage is a Christian institution, and a creation ordinance – Genesis 1-2 – it is basic to all cultures in all history and is inherently only for a man and a woman.

An electrical wire connection will not work if you force the wrong parts into the wrong socket.

Plumbing will not work if you don’t connect the right pipes together.

Male and Female were made to fit with one another, compliment one another.

Many blacks have said it is such an insult to equate their struggle for civil rights with the gay rights movement of wanting the right to perversion and immorality and changing language and society and history.

Whilst technically more black people oppose gay marriage than support it, the number of black people who support gay marriage is around 40%, which is not a trivial percentage, and it is growing.

Marriage predates Christianity (the concept of unions between people existed throughout Greek and Roman times, to say nothing of it outside Europe). It is wholly arrogant to claim marriage is therefore a Christian institution, unless you’re saying you regard Genesis as literally true (in which case we can add pseudo-scientific creationist dogma to your homophobia). Your false examples regarding wiring and plumbing strike me as an effort to dehumanise the discussion, ignoring the impact such discriminatory ideals has on people, and I see you have no answer to my point regarding wholesale discrimination, so instead you change tact and try to suggest blacks would be against the gay rights movement (which is false).

You have still to address my point RE the ongoing denial of jobs (or dismissal from jobs) to homosexuals, for no other reason other than that they are homosexuals. Is this something a fair and just society indulges in?

the Truth of Christianity includes the Old Testament Scriptures, the Torah, the book of Genesis being the first.
“God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” = still a great truth and bears repeating.

Conservative Christians have several ways of dealing with Genesis – there are several legitimate interpretations that do not affirm Darwinian Evolution – the days of Genesis may be long epochs or the first verse is a general statement and the days are days of arranging matter that was created in verse 1. The 3-4 basic views are 1. Young Earth – literal 24 days, God creating age within the first creation – as Adam and Eve were already mature, etc. 2. Day Age or Epochs, 3. Some kind of gap theory between verse 1 and 2 or John Sailhaimer’s view. 4. The Framework Hypothesis is another form of the days being long periods of time or epochs.

http://creation.com/15-questions-for-evolutionists

Aside from the desperation to justify creationism, the childish Adam and Steve argument is barely even worth acknowledging. If this is his justification for discrimination… urgh.

Except that creationism as defined by Genesis is completely unverifiable as a scientific medium – and your argument about Adam and ‘Steve’ is just childish. It remains completely untrue that marriage is a Christian institution.

Furthermore, your narrative assumes we must all abide by a very specific set of rules, in order to have certain rights. You still haven’t answered my points RE denial of jobs and rights.

the issues about denial jobs and rights would have to taken on a case by case instance – it is just too general to make a judgment on that. If the person is humble and not flaunting their homosexuality out in the open, there is no reason they should be fired, etc.

What defines ‘flaunting’? Do you know? Basically you’re saying ‘because of my belief system, you have to totally hide who you actually are, otherwise I’m going to be mean to you and deny you rights’. You’re also saying ‘my belief system should be the overriding one upon which everyone should be judged and upon which laws and rules should be made, regardless of other faiths and beliefs’. You’re not supporting equality – you’re supporting a theocracy, and we know how well they usually turn out…

Since God exists; and He does miracles; and is all powerful and pure; there is no good reason to not understand that God can create things with age already within them and that He can do the kinds of miracles described in the Bible. (parting of the Red Sea; Noah’s ark; the virgin Birth of Christ, the resurrection of Christ from the dead, etc.)

There are dozens of creation narratives out there. Each one will claim to be to utterly true. Upon which do we hang our hat and use to form a system of rules?

The only fair means to represent everyone is for no single faith to be the dominant one. To do otherwise is to invite oppression.

This is a key point for me. To declare that your personal belief system should override the rights of everyone else is extremely arrogant.

Will there be a part four to this? I don’t know – the problem with arguing with religious fundamentalists is that nothing – nothing – will move them from their positions – no degree of logic, no amount of evidence. Still, I cannot stand to see such ideas go unchallenged, so there may yet be a part four. Watch this space!

Back to Meerkat Musings and Blogging Theology

Following on from my discussion with Paul Williams about baking cakes, the KKK and false dilemmas, comes the next part of this particular article. As mentioned, the discussion with Paul ended up involving other people, and some of the details I post here. The original article can be found here.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this discussion can easily morph into a wider theme – the theme of religious liberty, versus gay rights. Paul’s site attracts not only Muslim posters but several Christian posters as well, and one of that number, Ken Temple, made it very clear where he stands on this issue. His comments are in pink, mine are in blue, and any additional commentary is in black.

If it was a plain cake and the gay person was not flaunting their immorality in our faces, then there would be no problem.

The problem is that they force the bakers to put two plastic men on top and write in food coloring paste, “John and Larry, Love forever” and also forcing florists and photographers to go to their ceremonies.

Liberalism today promotes sexual perversion, and has deep hatred against Christians and all who hold that homosexuality is a sin and so called “same sex marriage” is not even marriage.

So am I to take it Ken, that you agree with Paul, in that anyone should be free to arbitrarily discriminate, flouting the law in the process?

Do you understand what I wrote above? The new laws are wrong, and the lesbians and gays that took people to court and destroyed their businesses are evil. (bakers, florists, photographers) The could have found another place to do business at. The law is evil that forces Christians or other conservatives to celebrate their immoral weddings and evil lusts. It is the gay agenda that is full of malice and evil. Refusing to go to a homosexual wedding is a righteous act. Refusing to put two plastic men on top of a cake and refusing to write “Bill and Steve, love forever” is a righteous act.

but if they just walk into a shop and buy something already made without any agenda, no problem.

the gays that destroyed this lady’s life, they are the evil and unjust ones. period. https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/a-great-injustice-done-against-a-christian-by-the-gay-agenda/

You’re bringing in bigoted dogma, hidden behind your beliefs. You would support discrimination, yet expecting equal treatment in the eyes of the law is evil?

I’m not sure I can take your posts seriously if this is your stance.

Nope; the current Leftist agenda to destroy Judea-Christian values is the most extreme form of bigotry.

Not wanting to go and celebrate at a so called “gay wedding” is not a wrong kind of discrimination. To discriminate is to think and judge something as wrong, based on evidence and fruit. The homosexuals already have the freedom to do what they do in the privacy of their own homes. they had no right to bring out their disgusting behavior into the public square and seek to get the government to enforce their perversions. The gun to the head by the gays in the meme that Paul W. put up is right – that is what that homosexual agenda is – force and evil. The transgender agenda also. They are the new KKK and neo-Nazis.

No one is being forced to celebrate at gay weddings who doesn’t want to be there. This is complete rubbish. On the other hand, you can not only be refused service for being gay, but in parts of America you can denied a job (or sacked if later found to be) for being gay. There are parts of the world where being gay carries prison sentences and even the death sentence. Yet in the meantime, the zealots on the reactionary right complain about being expected to treat people equally…

I’m not sure where this argument about being forced to attend gay weddings comes from. The attempt to justify discrimination as something based on evidence is not only wrong, it can be turned both ways. I’ve placed in bold a sentence I feel is worth greater examination than I gave it at the time. It can just as easily be argued that people don’t want religion shoved in their faces, and that government enforcement of religious institutions should be opposed. Indeed, religious institutions are everywhere – but how many gay churches, synagogues and mosques are there? Do homosexuals canvas people on the streets or door-to-door to convert others to their belief system? Obviously they don’t, as homosexuality isn’t a belief system being forced upon others.

It seems that both Paul and Ken wish to have their cake and eat it too. They decry the idea that a business – which is a public institution, and as such subject to the laws which cover such institution – cannot discriminate at will, whilst Ken wants to deny homosexuals rights! I wonder if they will see the irony in their positions?

Back to Meerkat Musings and Blogging Theology

Let me start by saying that I have a measure of respect for anyone who puts their name to their posts and bares their soul for the world to see. Paul Williams, who runs Blogging Theology, is one such person. I certainly do not agree with a lot of what I see on his site, but it is by and large insightful, especially regarding the Muslim faith.

Of course, it is inevitable that he would say things I take issue with. We’ve had discussions in the past, but I feel this is one worth archiving, as it were, so there is no room for confusion later on. My comments will be in blue, his in red. Any additional comments of mine will be in black.

It started when  Paul posted this picture:

bakethecake

The implication behind this image is obvious. The LBGT community is persecuting the Christian community (substitute Christian for religious if you wish). The chief bone of contention? That a gay couple took legal action against a bakery who refused to bake a wedding cake for them, on religious grounds. You can see more about this specific case here.

It’s a fantastical image but not an accurate one. Businesses that have agreed to abide by public laws and regulations don’t have the right to force their religious beliefs on their customers by means of refusing service. This is why the State and the Faith are kept separate – and indeed, why they should be.

I bet a liberal baker would refuse to bake a cake for the KKK and be supported by the left for doing so.

The beginnings of a rhetoric trick, intended to force me down a specific path.

That doesn’t excuse using religion as an excuse to discriminate.

would you support a liberal baker who refused to bake a cake for the KKK?

A better question would be, would you support anyone who entered into a public business, which is subject to public law, use their beliefs to arbitrarily discriminate against anyone, on the grounds of faith? What would be next? Christians refusing service to Muslims and vice-versa?

Moreover, your example of the KKK is a false dilemma. The KKK endorses discrimination as a matter of practice, against gays, blacks and ethnic minorities. I don’t imagine they would look too favourably upon Muslims either. A gay couple who simply want to buy a cake is not comparable to an organisation that has historically engaged in violence.

so what is your answer to my question?

Would you support a liberal baker who refused to bake a cake for the KKK?

Yes or no?

Paul is setting up a false dilemma. If I answer ‘yes’, he will say I am being hypocritical. If we want to get really technical, I would be – but the KKK is an organisation committed to hate. They ought to have been banned decades ago, and in practice they are not at all comparable to a gay couple who want a cake to help them celebrate their wedding. You can see why this is a false dilemma.

If I answer ‘no’, he will no doubt use that answer to imply I am somehow tolerant of the KKK. He is setting a ‘win-win’ scenario.

Already answered – it’s a false dilemma. Will you answer MY question? A better question would be, would you support anyone who entered into a public business, which is subject to public law, use their beliefs to arbitrarily discriminate against anyone, on the grounds of faith? What would be next? Christians refusing service to Muslims and vice-versa?

No you have not answered! It is not a false anything.

KKK walk into a known liberal baker and ask them to bake a nice cake with a lovely swastika on it.

Baker refuses on principle. Goes against her beliefs.

Would you support the baker?

Yes

or

no

Of course it’s a false dilemma. Shall I assume from your question your tacit support for the KKK and its discriminatory policies, which is not at all the same as a gay couple asking for a cake?

I know what you’re doing. It’s a rhetoric trick. Not only are you not answering MY question, but you’re trying to set up conditions. If I answer that I would support the baker who refused service to the KKK, you’ll turn around and accuse me of hypocrisy. If I say I wouldn’t, you’ll accuse me of supporting the KKK. Hence why it’s a false dilemma. Let me ask YOU – would YOU bake a cake for the KKK? Or a gay couple? Or would you remove yourself from a position where your personal beliefs would interfere with your ability to do your job impartially?

You are right – I’m not going to answer your question at the moment. I want you to answer mine first.

It’s not a trick question. It is a real question involving real people in the USA. IT COULD HAPPEN.

But it IS a test of your liberal principles. Let’s see if you apply them equally or not.

FACT: There are many KKK types in your country.

FACT: You have many bakeries too.

It is totally realistic to ask what would happen if one of the former walked into one of the latter. If you reject this possibility explain why it is impossible.

The latter refuses to serve the former.

Do you still agree with your statement above that:

“Businesses that have agreed to abide by public laws and regulations don’t have the right to force their religious beliefs [or political beliefs] on their customers by means of refusing service.”

Of course it’s a trick question. We both know EXACTLY what you intend to do, whichever way I answer, which is why I am reluctant to play your game. This is about placing spin upon which answer I give, so you can do ‘HA!’ We both know this to be true.

However, I will take your bait (and that is what it is), though I expect you to answer my question in return. I want your word that you shall do so before I give any answer. You should also be aware that I am archiving this discussion on my own site, so there is no room for conflation or confusion.

I’m still waiting…

I’m waiting for your word.

what word?

That you will answer my question if I answer yours.

I will think about it. Now, I’m still waiting for you to answer my question.

I’m still waiting for your word. That first, or no answer. Surely that’s fair?

No not really. I don’t like people setting conditions on my future actions. I just asked you a question. Either answer it or don’t.

Enough already!

There’s a certain element of irony here. Paul is trying to push me into a corner, yet when faced with the same approach, it appears he doesn’t like it.

You’re doing exactly that to me. What are you afraid of Paul? Being pushed into a pidgeon hole? Because we both know that’s what you’re doing to me. You are setting up conditions to either way declare ‘HA’. Perhaps I should keep asking why you equate the KKK with gays?

OK. Lets move on…

I tell you what. As it’s now gone 11pm and I have work tomorrow, I’ll answer you tomorrow. I’m disappointed that you will probably not give your word and answer my question (I have to wonder as to why), but I obviously can’t force you to give your word. I’ll take your bait and play your rhetorical game, but as I said, it will be tomorrow.

Right, time to offer up my answer to his leading question…

You wanted an answer Paul, here it is. I will say firstly, I am disappointed that you are using leading questions – it’s a rhetorical trick, and a pretty obvious one at that. You are hoping to generate a ‘win-win’ scenario for yourself. Unfortunately for you, this is not my first time around the block, as it were, and I can see through such tactics. I must also wonder at why you equate homosexual couples with the KKK – that is quite disturbing Paul, and I’ll be interested to see how you justify that comparison.

In order to answer your question effectively, we must first examine the nature of your question. The question itself is a false one – what exactly ‘is’ a liberal baker? This is left rather vague.

Moving on, I support anyone – liberal, Muslim, or Christian – who refused to endorse the KKK, across any platform. The KKK is a hate group. They have historically persecuted minorities – and right now have their eyes set on Muslims and homosexuals alike. http://www.ibtimes.com/alabama-kkk-recruiting-fight-spread-islam-2219087 http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/08/13/the-kkk-issues-plea-for-members-to-kill-gay-people/

I suspect you will now accuse me of hypocrisy, and I suspect you will not answer my question, which will be rather telling. I will nevertheless, continue with my own answer, and make a wider point.

What the homosexual couple want is for a public business, which agreed to abide by public law, to uphold that law and fulfil their obligation under it, instead of practicing discriminatory policies. Is it not diversity and choice – it is bigotry, disguised behind religion, that motivates the denial of service in these circumstances – and it is in fact illegal.

So where does it end Paul? Why do you believe anyone should be free to arbitrarily discriminate against anyone else? If you were to enter a place of business and be denied the service you requested, on the grounds of being a Muslim, would you then be asking questions about whether someone should serve the KKK a cake? Or would you take the issue more seriously?

 

Paul has so far been coy in his response, preferring to let others answer for him. As the number of comments has rapidly expanded, I’ll be preparing a part 2 to this. In the meantime, let’s take a wider look at what the issue really is. I’ve read complaints of homosexuals ‘destroying’ businesses with bigoted and Nazi-like behaviour. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

Homosexuals face being denied jobs, or dismissed from jobs, at a much higher rate than average. They face greater percentages of workplace harassment. This is a global problem.

Yet we are supposed to believe homosexuals are ‘Nazis’ and it’s perfectly reasonable to refuse service to same-sex couples, and expecting businesses that operate in the public domain to abide by laws preventing arbitrary discrimination is completely unreasonable.


Riiiiight.

The thing is, the narrative put forward here is completely false. It is also dangerous. Where does permitting businesses to discriminate for whatever reason they choose end? I can only wonder what would happen if they are on the receiving end of such a practice.

Back to Meerkat Musings and Blogging Theology

For the second time in a few weeks I have nearly been run over by a cyclist who seems confused as to where the cycle path is – or just doesn’t care. I’m not amused. 

(my ‘not amused’ face)

I mean come on. The path is a joint pavement/cycle path and the boundary is well defined. There’s no excuse to be on the pedestrian path when there’s a clear cycle path right beside you. What’s worse, I have a feeling the guy who almost hit me yesterday (who must have seen me as he was coming down the hill) is the same guy who nearly hit me the other week. Rest assured people, if he hits me, there’ll be a hopping mad meerkat on the loose!

Retailers in the UK are being asked to put their final orders in for the Wii U. Are Nintendo due to shock the world with an earlier than expected release for the Nintendo NX? Nintendo revealed earlier this year that Nintendo NX is currently scheduled for a March 2017 release date, to land alongside The Legend […]

via Nintendo NX to be released Christmas 2016? — Go 8 Bit

As much as I would love this to be true, it seems unlikely to me. Nintendo are famous for taking their time and being methodical with their hardware and software – I’m not expecting the NX till next year.